The crowd at the recent National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) Watch & Clock Regional Show in Fort Mitchell, Ky., just outside of Cincinnati
The annual National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) Watch & Clock Regional Show was recently held at the drawbridge Estate in Fort Mitchell, Ky. located just seven miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. The little town of Fort Mitchell has hosted this show for every spring more than 30 years; a cornucopia of antique clocks and watches of every variety in the midst of blooming Dogwoods. This is not a particularly large show, but a very popular one with collectors of clocks and watches. Cincinnati has been in the forefront of historical horology for many decades, being the home of the Gruen Watch Co.
The buildings of this now defunct watch Gruen Watch Company, founded by Dietrich Gruen, still grace Cincinnati’s Time Hill, as the city has been a mecca for watch and clock collectors for many years. When it is time for this show, collectors come from as far away as the Orient, as invariably, wonderful watches and clocks turn up at this show year after year. The main show is pre-empted by a watch and jewelry show hosted by Girard Sensoli’s World Wide Traders and a “tail gate” event, where collectors and traders convene in the parking lot to buy, sell and trade their wares at 6 a.m.! The turnout this year was excellent; people came from miles around to peruse a plethora of clocks, watches, parts pieces, cases and the specialized tools needed for repair and servicing clock and watches.
A display of pocket watches available at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) Watch & Clock Regional Show .
This show is noted for the quantity of parts, pieces, cases and the little bits needed by hobbyists to repair and complete his wounded horological treasures. Unfortunately, the foundering economy has affected even this established show. The turnout of European and Asian buyers was almost nil, where in the past they came loaded for bear, and went home with booty. Sales for high-end rare watches and clocks was strong, but good examples were thin. Gold watches of every nature brought good money, as the gold market continues to be strong. Railroad watch sales remain in the doldrums, as only top-flight watches or watches with condition found buyers. Rolex watches—as always—are popular and desirable, but are selling for much less, and strong buyers were absent. Low-end common watches—both pocket and wrist, if priced right—sold in quantity. Movements, cases and parts were very popular, and both dealer and collector alike were scooping up bargains.
Clocks were a very different story, as sales were sporadic and interest only fell along the line of the complicated and unusual; condition and rarity being the order of the day. Many fine and unusual clocks were displayed, but if they weren’t priced to sell, they went unsold. In actuality, the main show, sponsored by the National Watch & Clock Collectors’ Association, saw much less action and interest than the pre-show and tail-gate events, so it pays to come early, and the patient collector knows to stay ’til the end for that last-minute bargain or, possibly, the find of a lifetime.
Here is a short list of some of the best finds:
• A small and very rare Patek Philippe 1/4 Repeater in Gold;
• Ball Waltham Brotherhood with colored dial;
• An early 19th-century Eardly Norton 1/4 Repeater;
• A 26-jewel Benjamin Franklin;
• Patek Philippe split-second chronograph pocket watch;
• Lehigh Valley RR Waltham;
• A rare Ball Hamilton 998E marked Hamilton (unheard of) turned up for a very reasonable price.
Many dealers complained of the lack of sales and the prices realized, but the collectors I spoke to were happy. Interest was high and attendance was very good, for a “down economy.” I’d have to say this was a good show.
David Mycko is a Worthologist who specializes in watches.
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